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Utah HB 497 Provisions Blocked

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2014

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, NILC: 213-400-7822; delatorre@nilc.org
Isabel Alegria, ACLU: 415 343-0785; ialegria@aclu.org or media@aclu.org
Karen McCreary, ACLU of Utah: (801) 871-0330; kmccreary@acluutah.org
 

Civil Rights Coalition Victorious in Lawsuit against Utah Anti-Immigrant Law

Federal District Court Blocks Several Provisions of HB 497, Strictly Limits Enforcement of “Show Me Your Papers” Provision
 

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal district court today issued a decision blocking several components of Utah’s HB 497, an Arizona-style anti-immigrant law passed in 2011 that threatened the basic civil rights of all Utahns.

In its order, the court blocked key provisions of the law that would have allowed police to arrest certain potentially deportable immigrants and that would have criminalized everyday activities, such as driving an undocumented immigrant to the store. The order also severely limited implementation of several provisions of the law. The court clarified that the provision authorizing police to demand “papers” of those they think may be in the country without authorization does not authorize police to stop or detain an individual simply to verify his or her immigration status. The court also made clear that the law does not require Utahns to carry identification with them at all times.

“Today’s order establishes a bright line for Utah law enforcement, explaining to local police that if they prolong a traffic stop for even one minute to determine an individual’s immigration status, they risk running afoul of the U.S. Constitution,” said Karen Tumlin, the managing attorney at the National Immigration Law Center who argued the case before the court in 2012 and again in 2013. “The decision makes efforts to ward off overzealous attempts to determine whether someone is American based on the way they look or whether they have an accent.

Archie Archuleta of the Utah Coalition of La Raza, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said, “Today’s order reinforces a simple truth: No one should fear being charged with a misdemeanor or felony simply for driving her parent to the grocery store or a friend to church. Although the fight for equality is not over, we are pleased to see that the court has prevented much of this law from harming countless Utahns.”

Karen McCreary, executive director of the ACLU of Utah, said, “Since our lawsuit halted HB 497 from going into effect three years ago, there has been growing acknowledgement among Utahns that state laws such as HB 497 and Arizona’s law primarily cause division and strife within our community and that as a state we are better off working for longer term comprehensive solutions that protect our families and enhance our economy. Even the primary sponsor of HB 497 now has publicly acknowledged HB497 is not good public policy for our state. The Utah legislature should respond by repealing what remains of this law following Judge Waddoup’s ruling.”

“The court’s message is loud and clear: state and local police may not stop, detain, or arrest someone solely for immigration purposes,” said Jennifer Chang Newell of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case in 2013.

In the 2011 filing, civil rights groups charged that HB 497 is unconstitutional because it unlawfully interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and authorizes and requires unreasonable seizures and arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment, among other unconstitutional challenges.

Counsel for the plaintiffs in the case were:

National Immigration Law Center: Linton Joaquin, Karen C. Tumlin, Shiu-Ming Cheer, Melissa S. Keaney;

ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project: Cecillia Wang, Omar C. Jadwat, Andre Segura, Katherine Desormeau, Jennifer Chang Newell;

ACLU of Utah: Leah Farrell;

Munger, Tollles & Olson LLP: Bradley S. Phillips.

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